Weekend News Round-up – September 30, 2012



Water for fracking center of controversy

Environmentalists say a conservancy district violated the public trust by once again agreeing to quench the thirst of “frackers” in eastern Ohio.

Conflicting reports fuel fracking debate tied to Wyoming town

A draft study released in December by the Environmental Protection Agency linked fluids used in fracking, a drilling method that has unlocked vast shale gas deposits across the nation, to pollution in the underground formation that supplies drinking water to residents near Encana Corp’s gas production wells east of Pavillion

Pollutants in Wyoming groundwater linked to ‘fracking’

Chemicals linked to hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” have been found again in the groundwater of a town in Wyoming. A U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) report released Thursday found traces of methane, ethane and phenol in a monitoring well in rural Pavillion, Wyo., where residents say fracking has contaminated their drinking water.

Fracking Suspense Cuts Into Second-Home Sales

As I report in the real estate section of The Times, many would-be buyers are deferring purchases of second homes in upstate New York out of concern that hydraulic fracturing might be allowed nearby. For now, no one knows whether Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s administration will allow this controversial natural gas drilling process to go forward.

Tennessee Oil and Gas Board approves new fracking rules

Despite concerns from residents and environment groups, the Tennessee Oil and Gas Board approved new rules Friday for the controversial natural-gas extraction practice known as fracking.

Support for fracking regulation drops even as Wyoming finds new
groundwater pollution

In March, nearly two-thirds of Americans thought there should be more regulation of fracking. Now, only 56 percent do. This is not because of a slew of new, strict regulations.

Poll: Obama backers want more fracking rules, but national support eroding

Supporters of President Obama are more than twice as likely as backers of Mitt Romney to want strict environmental regulations on natural-gas fracking, according to a Bloomberg National Poll released Thursday. The Sept. 21-24 poll found only 32 percent of likely Romney voters calling for more hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, regulations, compared to 76 percent of Obama proponents. As a whole, the poll found 56 percent of Americans want more rules on the practice, a drop from 65 percent in a March survey.  Also, 29 percent of the 1,007 respondents wanted fewer fracking regulations, up from 18 percent in the previous poll.


BP fined after it fails surprise spill-containment inspections

BP Products North America will pay $210,000 and create enhanced oil spill response programs at all of its U.S. oil facilities under the terms of a consent agreement announced Thursday. …

The EPA said the company twice failed to pass unannounced oil-spill exercises administered by the EPA and U.S. Coast Guard at the Curtis Bay Terminal [in Maryland]. BP was unable to contain a small-scale discharge of fuel from the facility in the time allotted for the test.

Scientists say BP used courts to attack oil spill research

Scientists are accusing the BP oil company of using the U.S. courts to attack their calculations of how much oil leaked into the Gulf of Mexico during the Deepwater Horizon drilling disaster.

In a paper published Thursday in the journal Science, researchers at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, in Massachusetts, charge that BP and other corporations damage scientific research when they subpoena documents and correspondence that lead to study conclusions. Richard Camilli, an ocean physicist, engineer and lead author of the
paper, claimed that BP was intent on using such correspondence to raise doubts about the spill calculations.

BP to pay $210,000 following spill response drills

The Justice Department says BP Products North America Inc. has agreed to pay $210,000 following surprise inspections at a Baltimore area oil terminal.

The settlement was announced Thursday by the Justice Department and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Federal officials say BP has also agreed to make changes to its oil spill response program at oil terminals nationwide and undergo a comprehensive compliance audit to resolve alleged violations at its Curtis Bay terminal.

Federal officials say the EPA and Coast Guard conducted two unannounced spill exercises at Curtis Bay. The DOJ says BP failed each time to deploy oil containment booms quickly enough. The department says the Curtis Bay terminal can store about 22 million gallons oil
and is less a quarter mile from a Chesapeake Bay tributary.

Louisiana Sinkhole

Sinkhole hits businesses, home values in rural Louisiana

Dennis Landry’s bed and breakfast was in the middle of a record business year before a sinkhole prompted authorities to tell 150 households in the towns of Bayou Corne and Grand Bayou to evacuate. Soon after, wary customers began cancelling their reservations as the sinkhole expanded, swallowing up hundreds of feet of swamp and his profits with it.

Office of Conservation Orders Texas Brine to Report Well Findings

Louisiana Commissioner of Conservation James Welsh placed new requirements on Texas Brine LLC for providing data and analysis promptly to the Office of Conservation, in addition to the existing orders issued to the company in response to the formation of the sinkhole/slurry area next to the company’s abandoned brine cavern in the Napoleonville Salt Dome.

Add comment

Stuart H. Smith is an attorney based in New Orleans fighting major oil companies and other polluters.
Cooper Law Firm

Follow Us

© Stuart H Smith, LLC
Share This